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Louis Fischer as "Mitchell" in for whom the Bell Tolls.

In Chapter 18 of For Whom the Bell Tolls, Robert Jordan recalls encountering "a certain British economist" (239) during the defense of Madrid in November 1936, specifically "on the afternoon when they had attacked at Carabanchel" (239). At Gaylord's, the Russian hotel and watering-hole in Madrid, Hemingway's barely fictionalized version of the Soviet journalist and Stalinist agent Mikhail Koltsov--"Karkov" in the novel--names the man "Mitchell." The details and tone of Mitchell's characterization suggest that Hemingway based him on an actual person, and the correspondence with Maxwell Perkins and Charles Scribner confirms as much. Perkins worried that the typescript's description of this "'certain American journalist'" could be libelous (qtd. in Trodgon 211); a few days later Hemingway wrote to Scribner, and "suggested changing the journalist's nationality from American to British" (Trogdon 212).

Jordan's recalled encounter is quite brief. He has taken command of an armored car (which he grouses Spaniards often mistakenly call a tank) when the man steps out to the street to offer him a cigarette and then asks him to "explain... something about the fighting." Jordan recognizes the man from photos, presumably in magazines and newspapers. His "hair was gray, his cheekbones broad and his eyes were deep and set close together." Jordan tells him to "muck" himself and orders the driver to head to the bull ring (241). End of episode. Later that night, Jordan realizes he had been rude, his response born of "the combatants hatred for the noncombatant" (242). His rudeness had likely also been inspired by Jordan's regard for Mitchell's writings: "He had not cared very much for what this man had written about Spain. It was too clear and simple and too open and shut and many of the statistics he knew were faked by wishful thinking. But he thought you rarely cared for journalism written about a country you really knew about and he respected the man for his intentions" (239).

Karkov tells us that the man participated in the Republican siege of the Alcazar, the medieval citadel which housed a military school and had become the final Nationalist stronghold in Toledo. At Toledo, Karkov says, the British economist was at his "bravest." There, "he was enormous. He was one of the architects of our capture of the Alcazar" (242). Jordan asks Karkov if the man is in fact "very close to Moscow" as is "supposed" in America (242). Karkov says no, and then explains the impression Mitchell gives of being a familiar of Soviet leadership:
[H]e has a wonderful face and his face and his manners are very
successful. Now with my face I could do nothing. What little I have
accomplished was all done in spite of my face which does not either
inspire people nor move them to love me and to trust me. But this man
Mitchell has a face he makes his fortune with. It is the face of a
conspirator. All who have read of conspirators in books trust him
instantly... (242).

His face.... His beautiful gueule de conspirateur. And his invaluable
trick of just having come from somewhere else where he is very trusted
and important. Of course... he must travel very much to keep the trick
working. (243)

Jordan's and Karkov's descriptions of Mitchell read like a portrait of Louis Fischer, the Moscow-based American correspondent who covered the war in Spain primarily for The Nation. Hemingway's initial draft for the novel introduces the American as a writer for a left-leaning weekly U.S. magazine (1)--The Nation was a prominent one.

Two excellent recent sources on Fischer are Paul Preston's We Saw Spain Die: Foreign Correspondents in the Spanish Civil War (2009) and Adam Hoch-schild's Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 (2016). (2) Fischer moved with his new Russian wife to Moscow in 1922 for nine months and returned in 1928 to make it his home (Preston 215). Among the internationals he befriended in Moscow was Robert Merriman, who became his regular tennis partner, eventually an officer in the International Brigades who died in Spain, and many believe a model for Robert Jordan. (3) Fischer travelled widely and frequently around Europe, for weeks and months at a time, including a four-week trip to Spain in 1934, but Moscow was his home until and during his travels to Spain to cover the war. He made a career of offering geopolitical advice in various forums--his articles, his lectures, his private meetings. Advertising such meetings assured him more such meetings. His reportage typically focused on global economics, leading local US publications to occasionally refer to him as an "economist" or "political economist," (4 ) and lending veracity to Mitchell's joint occupation as journalist and economist. Fischer's sympathies for the Soviet Union's economic and (disingenuous) democratic agenda led him, along with many others, to a selective reading of economic indicators--what the novel translates as "faked" statistics in his writings on Spain. He led international tour groups of Russia and became friendly with some Soviet officials. Understandably, the American press often allied Fischer with Moscow. Yet Karkov's denial of Mitchell's access to and employment by the Soviet leadership accords with Preston's and Hochschild s conclusions about Fischer, who never joined a communist party and strove to maintain a journalistic independence despite his sympathies and connections.

In Spain, Fischer's list of acquaintances, interviewees, friends, and confidants included Manuel Anzana Diaz (Prime Minister), Luis Araquistain Quevedo (Ambassador to France), Julio Alvarez del Vayo (Minister of Foreign Affairs; commissar-general), Juan Negrin (Prime Minster), Indalecio Prieto Tuero (Minister of Marine and Air; Minster of Defense), and Fernando de los Rios (former Prime Minster; Ambassador to the United States). In Hemingway's draft, Karkov reports that Mitchell is friendly with Vayo and Negrin in particular. (5) Preston titles his chapter on Fischer "A Man of Influence" and begins it with an image of Prime Minster Negrin shaving and bathing while consulting with Fischer, who was seated on the toilet (213). Fischer became friendly with Russian Ambassador Marcel Rosenberg, through whom he met some top Russian intelligence officers serving in Spain (229). He got to know US Ambassador Claude Bowers fairly well, and of course he spent time with the international journalist corps, with people like Jay Allen, Frederick Robert Kuh, Edgar Mowrer, Vincent Sheean, Lester Ziffren, Walter Duranty, Victor Schiff, Jan Yindrich, Henry Buckley, and John Whitaker.

Hochschild writes that "name-dropping about access to the high and mighty" was habitual with Fischer (77). Still, Karkov's attributing the Republican achievement at the Alcazar of Toledo to Mitchell is not unfounded, although the presence or degree of his or Hemingway's sarcasm is difficult to determine. On one of his first days in Madrid, on or about 17 September, Fischer met with his friend Luis Araquistain, the Second Republic's former Spanish Ambassador to Germany and one of the current Prime Minister Largo Caballero's chief advisors, who was just days away from becoming Ambassador to France. According to Fischer's unpublished diary, the meeting began as Araquistain's briefing Fischer on the general situation; however, the diary also clearly records a conversation and a retrospective summary of Fisher's thoughts, such as the long passage that begins, "I thought the key to the military complex was the Alcazar" ("Notes" 19). (6) As Fischer continues:
The Alcazar was ruining the governments strategy. It immobilised [sic]
at least 4000 men who might have turned the tide at the front. It
demoralised [sic] the governments supporters. Madrid had not achieved a
single military victory since the first week of the civil war. Drastic
action was required, I argued with Araquistain. They must be ruthless,
pick the best troops and storm the fort.... I assured him that 4000
American or Englishmen or Germans would not have stood around for six
weeks in defiance of the thickest possible walls. Could they not pour
oil on the Alcazar and burn it. [sic] Stone does not burn, he supposed.
No but the fire could travel until it reached something that would
burn. Besides, they might be smoked out. He would talk to the General
Staff about this, he assured me. ("Notes" 20-21)

Fischer visited Toledo several times in September to witness the siege of the Alcazar, going back and forth from Madrid, where he conferred with his friends in the government as well as the Russian ambassador Marcel Rosenberg, Andre and Clara Malraux, and fellow correspondents like Jay Allen. He also wrote an article on the government's military disorganization at Toledo. When in Toledo, he would sometimes tour the area with his and Hemingway's mutual great friend, the artist Luis Quintanilla, (7) along with the siege commander General Jose Asensio. At one point the three of them, plus the fire chief of Toledo, climb to enter "a small convent on the street of the Capuchines," where Fischer asks, "Could the oil be poured on the citadel from here?" ("Notes" 41). A day or so later, Fischer finds himself back in Toledo, standing at a militia post opposite Caballero (44). On his next visit, during a foray into a part of the Alcazar under Republican control recorded in the 21 September entry, Fischer sees a warehouse "filled to the ceiling" with "sacks of wheat," a few of which "were burned--one of the effects of Quintanilla's gasoline attack" (62).

The original breaching of the Alcazar had been the result of mines placed beneath the citadel with tunnels dug over the course of weeks and exploding on the 18th, an operation planned before Fischer's involvement. Quintanilla did direct some small unit action during the assault on the 18th that followed (Quintanilla 175-76; Buckley 250; Fischer, Men 359). According to Cecil Eby's history of the siege, on the evening of the 18th General Asensio "requisitioned a gasoline truck from Madrid" from which he would "run a hose" to "have gasoline pumped into the lower rooms and then ignite it" (186). When the plan went into effect on 20 September, someone cut the hose in half behind those running it, sending the gasoline "cascading harmlessly down the Calle de Carmen" (189). Then someone tossed an explosive and the "whole area erupted into flame"--"somehow the pump was shut off and the gasoline truck, still half full, did not explode" (189). The improvising troops filled wine bottles and buckets with gasoline, and during their assault tossed them into rooms and passages, followed by grenades to ignite them (189). This was undoubtedly the action that burned the wheat sacks Fischer saw, a plan that might have been hatched in a conversation between Asensio and Quintanilla and that might have ultimately been Fischer's idea. Or at least one he might have credited himself for helping to devise. (8)

Clara Malraux was with Fischer for part of the day he saw the burned wheat sacks. This is also the day that Fischer came close to being a combatant in a scene remarkably like that of Robert Jordan and the armored car. When Jordan approaches the car that afternoon, the driver at first refuses to join the fighting at the bull ring until Jordan threatens him at gunpoint: "Here are your orders" (FWBT 240). The two of them haul out the body of the vehicles gunner. It's when they are getting back into the "tank" that Mitchell steps out from beside a building to offer a cigarette. Jordan tells him to "muck" himself and commands the driver to head for the bull ring (241). Fischer records, during an afternoon assault on the Alcazar, wanting to go with a tank that sat it out for about forty minutes. Once it finally started moving, Fischer dashed about a hundred yards under fire to eventually leap atop the "caterpillar monster." He sat on "a ledge at the back of the tank" with an "assault guard" who "whip[ped] out his revolver and fire[d] it twice in the air." Fischer continued with the assault, sometimes riding, sometimes walking ("Notes" 64-66). Eventually, he helped carry a wounded soldier to the field hospital, plopped him on a table, and grabbed a doctor. He held the neck of another wounded man who was bleeding from his mouth until the doctor came to bandage him up. He returned to Madrid that night, his "light colored zipper jacket smeared with blood" (68).

If Fischer's tank-riding is the basis for Jordan's, we can only speculate on the version of the story Hemingway was told, by whom and when, or even what version of it he heard--as what one is told and what one receives do not always match. The version of the story Fischer initially published in The Nation, which Hemingway might have read, is not as detailed as the version he wrote in his notes and later published in his book ("On Madrid's Front Line" 469; Men 365-67). Hemingway could have written a more-or-less faithful retelling of what he understood to be Fischer's commandeering of the tank, or a deliberate revision of whatever he understood had happened. It is possible to read in these pages of the novel a very conscious self-critique, as Hemingway the noncombatant journalist has his fighting hero Jordan act dismissively toward the noncombatant journalist. Was Hemingway reflecting on his own wishful-thinking reportage motivated by good intentions and fed by Karkov and others? In mid-November 1936, days after the Carabanchel action, Fischer became the first American to join the International Brigades. Andre Marty assigned him to a quartermaster position but acquired a dislike for him and forced him to resign before the year was out.

One of the historical oddities here is Karkov's discussing the "successful" siege and capture of the Alcazar (FWBT 242). The Republican forces never gained full control of the citadel by the time Francos column of legionnaires and Moors arrived, saved its remaining defenders, and retook Toledo. Even if the Republicans had captured it, their chance of holding it for even forty-eight hours was nonexistent. Fischer's diary entry for 28 and 29 September refers to the governments military operation as "the Toledo debacle" ("Notes" 90). Writing his novel in 1939-1940, Hemingway certainly knew better than the words he puts in Karkov's mouth. He knew better back in the spring of 1937, if Koltsov had indeed discussed the siege and characterized it as a government success. While some international papers reported the fall of the Alcazar immediately after the underground mine explosions and up to a week later, (9 ) the entire world knew better soon enough. Robert Jordan knew better as well, when talking with Karkov "the last time he had been at Gaylord's" (239), sometime in the winter or early spring of 1937, although he never lets on to the reader, apparently seeing no reason to remark to himself on the exaggeration of the Republic's limited success. (10)

Perhaps Hemingway expected his 1940 reader to know better, or at least to feel this subsurface truth of Karkov's lie. Jordan tells us one of Karkov's stories he doubts, about General Jose Miaja's riding a bicycle to inspect the front, a story Karkov might have invented for patriotic appeal and then "wanted to believe... was true after writing it" (237). In this chapter, Jordan also relates one of Karkov's intentional acts of misinformation when he disguises the nationality of three Russian casualties so that the world would not learn about his country's early intervention (237-38). As Preston notes, Fischer "argued the facts: Koltsov, however, made it brutally clear that he believed that there were higher values than the truth. In his own diary, for example"--in addition to his public concealment--"Koltsov played down the presence of Russian arms and advisers because he knew that this was being used against the Republic. This was not a point of view shared by Fischer" (237; my emphasis).

Mitchell, as a version of Fischer, can function to help readers interpret Hemingway's judgement of Jordan, Koltsov-Karkov, and even himself as a politically committed correspondent. Historically speaking, Louis Fischer provides a comparative case study to embedded journalists like Ernest Hemingway and Herbert Matthews. (11) Although Koltsov generally approved of Fischer's politics and work for the Republic, Fischer's reportage of the "disorganization and panic of untrained militiamen outside Toledo" enraged him (Preston 237). Yet Fischer's insistent factuality must be squared with his own passionate support of the Republic and his intellectual support of the Soviet Union. At one point in his diary, he mentions the random executions and "'wild' killings" conducted by loyalist factions sometimes against "innocent" Madrilenos (54) only to make this complaint later in the same daily entry:
The press never learns. Many newspapers in Europe are lieing [sic]
about the Spanish revolution just as they did about the Soviet
revolution in 1917. Then too Lenin was assassinated every weekend,
Trotsky arrested Lenin every other month, the Red regime fell
regularly, and Moscow was captured by Denikin, Kolchak and numerous
other white army leaders who never got within hundreds of miles of it.
Also, if one had the wish and time, one could find in newspaper files
of those days the same sort of exaggerated atrocity tale as the press
is broadcasting about Spain, tales that have not been investigated and
could not be, tales that are an obvious reflection of their writer's
and publisher's prejudices. (58)

Presumably Mitchell believed the statistics "faked by wishful thinking" just as much as Karkov (according to Jordan) may have come to believe the bicycle anecdote. Is Jordan's critique of Mitchell's facts a critique by Hemingway of Fischer's reportage? Is Jordan's critique of Mitchell's facts a case of Hemingway's buying Koltsov's version of those facts, of Hemingway's retrospective self-critique for buying Koltsov's version? Or of Jordan for buying their truth?

Fischer's pro-Republican reportage frequently shared Hemingway's approach: loyal and rose-tinted, with moments that put himself in the action and in danger, and attention paid to Madrid's destruction and the civilian victims:
From the lower floors of bombed houses women, old men and little
children started to creep out. All was white, white hair, white faces,
white clothes--powdered by crumbling plaster. A girl of thirteen
retrieved a canary bird in its cage. She carried a milk bottle under
her arm. A woman with a nursing baby, both howling, the mothers dress
black where she held the child. A wrinkled old woman wrapped in a
blanket, every feature on her face trembling uncontrollably, stood on
the pavement dazed as she asked repeatedly, "Where can I go?" ("Under
Fire" 694)

The passage moves on to discussing the evacuation, and a version of this last image of an old woman asking where she can go will appear in Hemingway's voiceover for The Spanish Earth (although Fischer was more forthright in print about atrocities committed by Republican factions and sympathizers).

Jordan's description of Mitchell's deep-set eyes and long coat, and Karkov's admiration for Mitchell's face and charm, reflect Fischer's personal attractiveness: "Tall, darkly saturnine with hooded eyes, Louis Fischer cut a striking figure" (Preston 213). (12) If in Spain Hemingway's commitment to the Republic led him to support the military necessity of the communists and of Russia's aid and influence, Fischer found in the Republican cause a means to defer his inevitable disillusionment and break with Stalin's cruel tyranny and cling to his leftist idealism and faith. As Fischer writes, "I was glad to leave Russia and immerse myself in a new vibrant situation where Russia showed its finest face" (qtd. in Preston 240). Hemingway would certainly have appreciated Fischer's assurance, regarding the cause of Hemingway's rift with John Dos Passos, that Jose Robles "was not shot by the government." Fischer continues, "I do not know whether he was shot," although some "[p]eople affirmed that he had been smuggled out of Spain against his will and taken by boat to Russia" (Men 429). For Preston, Fischer's access to the government, his keeping government machinations gained in confidence secret (to sustain his access, confidence, friendships, and his own safety), and the fact that he published this claim "after he had broken all ties with Communism," both gives it credence and shifts focus to Robles's relationship with Russian agents (Preston 70-71). Of course, Fischer might have been duped along with Hemingway; by the spring of 1938, Hemingway might have had his impression corroborated by Fischer's.

It appears that Hemingway's and Fischer's trips to Spain during the war never overlapped sufficiently for them to have developed a rapport--perhaps even to have met at all--until the spring of 1938 during the Republic's desperate final period. In a letter that January from Hemingway's friend Joris Ivens, the Dutch filmmaker with whom Hemingway had earlier worked to produce The Spanish Earth, Ivens asked Hemingway to join Fischer's efforts "to give the movement for Spain a new push" by rallying such organizations as the Friends of the Lincoln Battalion, the Raven Fund, the Medical Aid Bureau, and the Motion Picture Artist Committee. (13) Whether or not Hemingway required Ivens's prompting, he and Fischer did collaborate on an eleventh-hour initiative. Fischer's article in The Nation with a dateline of "Barcelona, March 28" records that "[t]he other evening a well-known American novelist, a staunch friend of the Loyalists, telephoned from Paris to ask whether he should come to Spain immediately so as to be there before the end or whether he could stay abroad another week to do some work" ("Barcelona" 374); Hemingway had arrived in Paris on the 24th (Chamberlin 199). In March, April, and May the two of them worked with John Whitaker, Edgar Mowrer, Charles Sweeny, and Vincent Sheean in raising funds and making arrangements to repatriate American volunteers and care for the wounded in France, including coordination with the US Ambassador and Fischer's friend Claude Bowers. In early May, Hemingway, Fischer, and Sheean sent one such fundraising appeal by radiogram from Barcelona. (14)

Perkins's anxiety over libel was not unwarranted. In the novel's draft, when Jordan asks whether the man's name is actually Mitchell, Karkov replies that it is the name he uses and that Mitchell is probably Jewish like himself. (15) The response implies that Mitchell-as-Fischer or his immigrant parents changed their surname to sound less European Jewish (though Fischer's family did not). Karkov then discloses that Mitchell stands to become rich by handling money outside Spain on behalf of the government. Documents show that at least between July 1938 and April 1939, Fischer served as the pass-through for Republican funds used to cover repatriation costs for American volunteers. The money was deposited in a Paris bank from which Fischer drew upon as needed. (16) As his collaborator in repatriation efforts, Hemingway doubtlessly knew of this role. Back in the early spring of 1937, and back in the draft, Hemingway needed a non-anachronistic explanation. Karkov tells Jordan that Mitchell moved cash for propaganda and other unspecified purposes, by means of a bank deposit box to ensure no paper trail. Or might Hemingway have actually suspected Fischer of assisting with other financial operations, perhaps at some gain? Jordan is disgusted that anyone might profit on the cause. He regrets not shooting Mitchell the afternoon of their encounter, and all but proposes liquidating him the next chance he gets. Karkov assures Jordan that, because of Mitchell's need to return frequently to the Soviet Union, he can be managed. He instructs Jordan not to shoot this "winter fool" (FWBT 243). He is too useful. (17)

The apparent departure from an exact correspondence between Mitchell and Fischer might be a result of a gap in the historical record, of Hemingway's invention, of Karkov's misinformation and embellishment, or of Koltsov's misinformation and embellishment. Regardless, Mitchell--especially if one regards the excisions as motivated by legalities rather than artistry--ultimately serves to characterize Robert Jordan. A reader does not need to know anything about Louis Fischer. The excision reveals Jordan as willing to entertain the idea of murdering a fellow American also working for the Republic; it reveals him as having his own brand of controllable, functional foolishness. In this short scene, Karkov twice refers to Mitchell as Jordan's countryman almost as if to underscore their kindred utility. (18)

Hemingway must have envied and begrudgingly respected Fischer's singular intimacy with the highest levels of the Spanish government. The two men shared the need for such privilege as well as oversized egos, incredible energy and curiosity, good looks, and engaging personalities prone to name-dropping and storytelling. Ernest Hemingway and Louis Fischer moved in the same circle of foreign observers to the Spanish Civil War and were in many ways kindred spirits. A photograph of Fischer beneath an arrow-shaped Barcelona sign looks like Mitchell has walked off the page of For Whom the Bell Tolls: he's wearing a long overcoat, stands in front of a building, and his eyes are so deep you almost can't see them beneath the brow. (19) Identifying Mitchell as Fischer sheds a small ray of light on Hemingway's biography, the creative process of For Whom the Bell Tolls, and Robert Jordan's character, giving scholars another evidentiary morsel.


(1.) IFK: Manuscripts, FWBT, "Manuscript/EH Typescript, pages 426-50," p. 431.

(2.) See also Fleming, "The Travails of a Fellow-Traveler."

(3.) See Vernon on Merriman, 166-69.

(4.) E.g. "Says U.S. Would Do Well to Study Russia," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 6 Mar.1933, p. 8; "Economic Struggles Driving World Toward Madness of War Says University Man," Independent Record, 18 Apr. 1937 p. 11.

(5.) JFK: Manuscripts, FWBT, "Manuscript/EH Typescript, pages 426-50," p. 435.

(6.) Fischer's "Notes: Spanish diary" includes three versions of the same typescript. As the second two versions consist of marked up copies of the first, of chiefly excised words and passages, all page citations in this article reference the first version. Precise dating of events is difficult because each dated entry covers several days that are not clearly indicated. This conversation with Araquistain appears in the 18 September entry, the entry covering his entire journey from France to Valencia and finally Madrid. The next day's entry, 19 September, begins: "Yesterday morning, at nine, Araquistain called me and said, 'You have your wish. The red flag is flying over the Alcazar"' (22). Yesterday morning would have been the 18th the day the Republicans' underground mines blew up much of the Alcazar and allowed some of what remained to be taken over. A red flag did indeed go up that day, although a white flag of surrender did not (Eby 185). This means the initial meeting would have happened at least the day before, the 17th. The diary also has Fischer leaving France by air to Barcelona on the morning "two days" before the diary entry of the 18"' ("Notes" 1)--so the 16th--but landing in Valencia and catching a train that night that would have arrived in Madrid the morning of the 17th (12). That afternoon he visited an airfield and went to bed (14-18), and the next day "telephoned Luiz Araquistain today"--the 18th--and arranged their evening meeting (18). This would be the 18th, but this date does not square with the entry on the 19th about Araquistain's call "yesterday morning" about the fall of the Alcazar. The Alcazar fell the morning of the 18th so Fischer's meeting with Araquistain could not have happened the evening of the 18th unless the entry of the 19th is somehow incorrect. It's also possible that the "two days" earlier for the flight out of France should have read "three".

(7.) "Two years ago when I first came to Madrid he [Quintanilla] made a portrait of me" ("Notes"32). The portrait is not among those posted online by Luis's son Paul Quintanilla, portraits which include Ernest Hemingway, Sidney Franklin, Jay Allen, Elliot Paul, and Claude Bowers. My favorite is a pair of photos of Gary Cooper standing beside a painting of him as Robert Jordan ("Portraits of Friends," The Art and World of Luis Quintanilla, In a personal email, Paul Quintanilla tells me that he is unaware of the Fischer portrait, although there is one of Fischer's editor at The Nation, Freda Kirchwey (18 Aug. 2016). For an update on Luis Quintanilla's legacy, see Steve Paul, "A family's global story of war and art takes a surprising turn in Kansas City," The Kansas City Star, 21 Mar. 2016,

(8.) An Associated Press story reports that on the 19th, Asensio "instructed his men to prepare to spray the ruins with gasoline at 5 a.m." on the 20th, which would be ignited by hand grenades during an assault ("Burn Rebels in Alcazar Ruins! Madrid Orders," Chicago Daily Tribune, 20 Sept. 1936, p. 1). Republicans repeated the gasoline truck and hose tactic on 27 September (Eby 204), the last day of the siege before Franco's forces took control.

(9.) Fischer writes that "The British press announced on 24 September that the government had taken the Alcazar" ("Notes" 90).

(10.) To presume that Hemingway and Jordan did not know the Republic had never fully controlled the Alcazar some five months later is to wrongly imagine that they had no other sources of information about the general military situation besides Koltsov/Karkov.

(11.) Fischer's editor at The Nation once wondered if he might "feel hesitant about writing fully" given his personal relationship with Negrin as the prime minister's "unofficial advisor," acknowledging such a hesitancy as "legitimate" but also asking for suggestions for a more "detached and trustworthy" correspondent. Fischer's reply reminded her that any withholding was due to "strict censorship" and that he "wrote more than anyone else did in that period and as much as was possible" (qtd. in Preston, 244-45).

(12.) Fischer was a lifelong adulterer and womanizer, including later in life with Stalin's daughter at Princeton (Preston 261-62).

(13.) Ivens to Hemingway, 28 January 1938, enclosed in a letter of Helen van Dongen to Hemingway (11 Feb. 1938 [JFK: "Incoming Correspondence, from Ivens"]). Although Fischer was earlier recommended as an informational resource by Lester Ziffren in a letter of 18 February 1937. After advising that Hemingway avoid Madrid because of the danger if it were to fall to the Nationalists, Ziffren suggests that in New York he "contact Louis Fischer of The Nation who is staying at the Mayflower hotel, Central Park West. He was in Valencia as late as January 17th and he could give you the latest dope. He's in N.Y. trying to get all the groups who want to aid the loyalists to make their efforts more effective" (JFK: "Incoming Correspondence, from Ziffren").

(14.) See Vernon, 39; Preston, 251; and "Ernest Hemingway-FBI Files," 9. This is the only mention in the files of any relationship between Hemingway and Fischer, which is notable given the very public perception of Fischer's being, in Robert Jordan's words, "very close to Moscow" (FWBT 242). The files record a Daily Worker article of 16 April 1938 that reports on $1002 dollars raised "following an appeal by Ernest Hemingway, Vincent Sheehan, and Louis Fischer." A letter to the editor in the 10 May 1938 Pittsburg Press from Jacob Seligsohn quotes an appeal for funds by Hemingway, Sheehan, and Fischer, made in a radiogram "that has just been received in this country from Barcelona" ("Congress in Error on Neutrality Act," 12). The quoted radiogram asks for donations to the same outfit that the Daily Worker article says received the $ 1002, the Medical Bureau and North American Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy. The letter also claims that Bob Raven of Pittsburgh, a veteran of the International Brigades, gave the entirety of his $56 savings: "My education can wait, but the Fascists do not wait." Raven is the blinded and disabled soldier Hemingway writes about in his NANA dispatch "A New Kind of War" (24 Apr. 1937). Back in the US, Raven became a fundraising poster boy, for in fact the Raven Fund. Although in Hemingway's Second War, I wrote that I had "found no evidence that these [repatriation and care] plans were realized" (39), the FBI files report on a 26 July 1938 Daily Worker article "which listed Hemingway as one of the sponsors for the American Relief Ship for Spain" (7).

(15.) JFK: Manuscripts, FWBT, "Manuscript/EH Typescript, pages 426-50," p. 435.

(16.) Receipts in Fischer's papers at Princeton record a total of $55,075 U.S. dollars and F2,945,000 French francs given from Fischer to David Amariglio (July-December 1938) and Peter C. Rhodes (April 1939) for repatriation of American volunteers (Fischer, "International Journeys"). In an examination by the US Immigration and Naturalization Service taken a decade later (by Laurence G. Parr, 5 May 1949, at Hotel Duane, New York City), Fischer discusses serving as Prime Minister Negrin's "intermediary" to the American Section of the International Brigades, particularly regarding repatriation. The Republican government deposited funds in a Paris bank from which Fischer would withdraw as needed, about $10,000-$25,000 at a time, for an approximate total of $450,000; travel for each volunteer was covered at $125, and each one received a $25 "bonus" (many were broke) (Fischer, "International Journeys"). It is not clear whether the money given to Amariglio and Rhodes came from the donations or the government or both (the receipts are on hotel stationary). A pamphlet entitled "and tell the folks that I'll be home if... " put out by the Friends of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, requesting $125 donations for repatriating volunteers, does not list Hemingway, Fischer, Whitaker, Mowrer, Sweeny, or Sheehan as supporters, although among the supporters are Jay Allen, Langston Hughes, George Seldes, Donald Ogden Stewart, Upton Sinclair, Herman Shumlin, Stephen Vincent Benet and William Rose Benet (Fischer, "International Journeys").

(17.) JFK: Manuscripts, FWBT, "Manuscript/EH Typescript, pages 426-50," pp. 437-38.

(18.) JFK: Manuscripts, FWBT, "Manuscript/EH Typescript, pages 426-50," pp. 435, 436.

(19.) The photograph is marked on the back "In Spain during the civil war 1938." Also in the folder is a photo of Fischer in the same overcoat, against the same wall in the same light, with another man. The back reads: "Henry Buckley of London Daily Telegraph and Louis Fischer at Spanish front in Catalonia" (Louis Fischer Papers, Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University, Series 10, Box 53).


Buckley, Henry. The Life and Death of the Spanish Republic: A Witness to the Spanish Civil War. Introduction by Paul Preston, LB. Taurus, 2013.

Chamberlin, Brewster. The Hemingway Log: A Chronology of his Life and Times. UP of Kansas, 2015.

Eby, Cecil D. The Siege of the Alcazar. Random House, 1965.

"Ernest Hemingway-FBI Files" (1943). U.S. Department of Justice Publications and Materials. Paper 10.

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Alex Vernon

Hendrix College
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Author:Vernon, Alex
Publication:The Hemingway Review
Article Type:Critical essay
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2017
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